News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 16, 2013

Coffman gets 6 years of home detention

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A former West Terre Haute youth pastor will spend the next six years on in-home detention in Marion County for sexual misconduct with a minor.

Darrel Coffman, 31, of Terre Haute, appeared Tuesday in Vigo Superior Court 6 for an open sentencing to his plea of guilty to a class-B felony.

Coffman, former youth pastor of the Promised Land Apostolic Church of West Terre Haute, was arrested in October 2011 on the allegation that he performed or submitted to sexual intercourse or criminal deviate conduct with a 15-year-old victim in Coffman’s car and home between Feb. 1 and June 4 of that year.

Coffman briefly took the witness stand where he apologized to the victim and his family and asked for forgiveness.

The mother of the victim expressed her concern that other children could be victimized by Coffman, but did say that she forgave him.

The plea agreement had a cap on 10 years for the sentence. Judge John Roach said that after reviewing the facts of the case, he did not believe Coffman would reoffend or that he had preyed upon other children at the church. However, he said that Coffman did betray the trust of the family that allowed him to minister to the teen. And the judge noted that the teen could not consent to the sexual relationship because, by law, the teen had not reached the age of consent.

Roach sentenced Coffman to eight years in prison, with two years to be suspended and six years to be served on in-home detention. Defense attorney Laura Paul asked that Coffman be allowed to serve the sentence in Marion County, where Coffman will reside with an aunt.

Coffman must also register as a sex offender.